Filson Family Farm

Filson Family Farm

Monday, May 6, 2013

Great Grandpa Elmer Coplen and Frances Rodabaugh Coplen (Coplen lineage)

My Great Grandfather Elmer R. Coplen was born to Martin VanBuren Coplen and Sarah Severns Coplen on November 13th, 1867. He lived on a farm built by his father on the west side of the Tippecanoe River across from Talma, Indiana (aka Bloomingsburg). As a child he attended Talma School until the 8th grade.

Fulton County Historical Society Quarterly No 24
Elmer had an older brother named Wilson and an adopted sister named Rosa Emmons. Wilson married Nancy Ellen Burkett and Rosa went on to marry Benjamin Meredith. Elmer was a farmer like his father but soon learned the skill of carpentry and it became his main occupation. His family remembers him as a very loving man and a dedicated husband and father.

Elmer Coplen about 1910
Filson Family collection
My Great Grandmother Frances A. Rodabaugh was born to Adam Rodabaugh and Frances A. Hynes on November 8, 1872. The day began in celebration of her arrival but quickly turned tragic as her mother passed away from complications of the birth. As her father Adam, already had five other children, Frances was sent to be raised by her grandparents, John Hynes Sr. and Nancy Coble Hynes, with guardianship being held by her uncle, John Hynes Jr.

Frances A Rodabaugh about 1885
Filson Family collection
She grew up on her Grandfather's farm a short distance from her family’s, in Clinton Township, Cass County, Indiana, which was a small community outside of Logansport. She was a devoutly religious woman and went to church often. While attending church convention for young adults, she met and fell in love with Elmer. They married in Cass County on April 16, 1891, when Frances was 18 and Elmer was 23. They had a family of seven children that I wrote about in my previous post.

Elmer Coplen and Frances Rodabaugh Coplen Marriage Photo 1891
Filson Family collection
They raised their family in Talma until about 1920 when they sold their farm and moved to another one southwest of Inwood. They then joined the Inwood Methodist Church and this is where my Grandmother Grace and Grandfather Russell met.
1922 map Inwood Indiana, Hostorical Mapworks
My grandmother spoke fondly of her parents; you could tell her household was one filled with love. She would talk about her father coming home and kissing his wife in front of everyone and not being shy about it. He was also very happy to help her around the house. But despite their happiness, their lives were not without tragedy.  As I have written about in the past, in 1898, they laid to rest their four year old son, John Martin Coplen.. In her writings, my grandmother Grace recalls one night God spoke to her and said she needed to go be with her mother. Her mother had grown sick with pneumonia and passed away a few minutes after Grace said her goodbyes. Great Grandma Frances was 51 when she died and Elmer, who was recovering from gallbladder surgery at the time, was left with his two youngest daughters to raise, Fern at the age of 15 and Frances at the age of 11.This was an unbearable loss for Elmer, Grace and her siblings but an event that made the family rally around Elmer to care for him his whole life. They laid their mother to rest in Richter cemetery, along with four year old John and where Elmer would someday join them. After Frances died, Elmer would sell his Inwood farm and move to Elkhart, Indiana to live with his son, Floyd. During the depression he would work as a baler in a junkyard and was happy to have work. He would then move in with his daughter Frances, also in Elkhat and in 1949, he would move to the Filson family farm by Inwood, Indiana to be taken care of by my Grandmother Grace. After a six month illness he passed away in 1950. His funeral was held at the Christian Church in Talma, the same church he was born into 83 years earlier.

The Coplen family -  Fern, Frances, Floyd, Elmer, Grace, Earl and Blanch about 1960
Filson Family collection






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